Penn JigMaster Casting Reels Review

JigMaster

Penn JigMaster resources:
(will open in new window)

The Facts: The classic Penn JigMaster has a corrosion resistant black anodized spool, reinforced Lexan side plates, chrome-plated brass spacer bars, a star drag, counterbalanced handles, and a durable clicker.

Model No. Bearings Gear Ratios Capacity Weight
500L N/A 4:1 275/30 22 OZ
Penn Jigmaster 500 Fishing Reel USA made nice
Penn Jigmaster 500 Fishing Reel USA made nice
$ 19.50
Vintage PENN Jigmaster 500S Conventional Saltwater Fishing Reel Surf Boat 500 S
Vintage PENN Jigmaster 500S Conventional Saltwater Fishing Reel Surf Boat 500 S
$ 29.00
PENN JIGMASTER 500 REEL RED HANDLE
PENN JIGMASTER 500 REEL RED HANDLE
$ 12.99
PENN JIGMASTER 500 REEL GREEN HANDLE
PENN JIGMASTER 500 REEL GREEN HANDLE
$ 13.00
Earlier Model Penn Jigmaster 500 G Conventional Reel - Mfg. in USA
Earlier Model Penn Jigmaster 500 G Conventional Reel - Mfg. in USA
$ 29.95

User reviews for JigMaster

Avg. User Review (4.2 Stars):
Number of Reviews: 6
Email a friend about this reel.

Write an online review and share your thoughts with other's.

5 Stars strong, rugged, reliable, simple, legendary, 2009-04-18
Reviewer: Michael Jacobs

We have two of these. My dads is about 30 years old and still going strong! And I have one that I baught yesterday because I grew up using my dads and I just have to keep this tradition going strong!

I used my dads for years bottom fishing, hauling up rock cod, slingers, and many many sharks from the deep. I love that reel! Its the old marroon one and has an aluminium spool and is loaded with 25lb line. I recently gave it an overhaul and much to my supprize, everything was fine! After 30+ years of abuse and the only thing wrong is that the spool and clicker are a bit corroded, and a tooth is missing from the gear. But its in better condition than what these trinidads and saltigas will be when they are 30years old!! You just cant kill a good old penn, and thats one of the reasons why I baught a new jigmaster simply because they LAST, they are SIMPLE, they are very very RUGGED, and they never give an ounce of trouble...

I have reels with better features and gadgets that cost less than the jigmaster, but they will never last as long as the legendary penn jigmaster! Plus I prefer going back to the roots and enjoy fishing with a piece of history

I hope I can one day pass down my dads reel and my reel to my son one day. Tell him of all the great fish that the reels have caught and so on. Honestly these reels should go down in history because everyone knows what a Penn is!

5 Stars Great All Around Reel for Surf, Inshore, or Boat, 2008-09-18
Reviewer: Joe M.

I've used this reel in a variety of situations from surf, inshore/river, and boat fishing in under 100 feet of water. Its size does *not* make for a repetitive casting of lures. It is more of a "set it and forget it" situation-- until you hear that loud clicker going off. It goes well with 30# test monofilament in a boat or inshore use. You may want to drop to 20# if you want a bit farther casting in a surffishing application. The drag system is smooth but does not offer "zero drag" with high pound test. I've had 50# test on it (albeit not more than a hundred fifty yards or so) and had the drag cranked all the way down going for a "zero drag" attempt. I had a "keeper" grouper on and it will still pull the drag out, so 30# is the sweet spot for me. Unlike a large Penn Senator 6/0 (or larger), you can retrieve large fish and balance the rod butt on your hip or thigh without a fighting belt. Of course, long battles will test the muscles in your lower back, arms, legs especially if you don't have a fighting belt. There is no level wind on this reel, so you have to go back and forth guiding the line with your thumb while retrieving. It does take a while to get used to, but you will get used to it and will do it on auto-pilot even when fighting a fish. I've had the same 500 for the past 20 years (paid $70 for it), and with regular maintenance (rinse off the salt mist after each use, oil, grease, releasing all drag tension in-between fishing trips, chrome polish near reel seat, wrap with plastic grocery store bad when storing) yours will last just as long. Now I have to brag: I've caught large snook, 6 foot stingrays, black-tip & nurse sharks, dogfish, keeper black / gag / red grouper, dolphin (mahi mahi), tarpon up to 45inches (still haven't broken the 100# mark), bonito, amberjacks, and countless other fish. This is a flexible reel at a decent price point. Tight lines to all!

4 Stars Absolutly no complaints, 2008-03-01
Reviewer: Greg Dixon

This is the reel i learned 2 cast with. Really smooth, practical, and easy 2 use. Plus it holds a decent amount of line too. Has an excellent drag system, a very nicely balanced reel that casts like a dream. I use it on my 12ft power stick pro, fishing off the beach or rocks. Also i liked the feel of the mechanism when switching between retrieve and free spool. Feels really sturdy. Its also really easy 2 strip and clean. No hassels here. Al in all, a tru classic withstanding the test of time

4 Stars Heave Ho !, 2005-02-27
Reviewer: MB

These reels actually make pretty good surfcasters too, but you have to get one with the older plastic spool. I have several, and they are surprisingly easy to control, assuming that one already has an "educated" thumb.
I also have a magged ALUM. spool reel, and it works good too, but it takes a lot of mag and a heavy heave with a 12 ft. rod to get a whole squid out into the fun zone. But it will do this reliably all day long, and once something hooks-up, there's no better tool for the job

4 Stars Class never goes out of style, 2005-02-23
Reviewer: James -Gyozadude- Liu

For saltwater baitcasting with more than 4 oz of weight, this is the price/performance leader that leaves other high-priced non-levelwind conventionals in the dust.

Costing $65 in most mail order houses, this reel goes on sale occasionally for $45. Despite the old looks, it has some good technology.

The first is the HT-100 drag. A space-age material that makes the drag smooth and strong. This material is widely used by reel pros to retrofit stock drags for increased drag performance. Best of all, replacement parts are widely available and inexpensive.

Second, while other manufacturers are skimping by putting cheap graphite composite spools, or thin-lipped aluminum spools, the Jigmaster has a precision aluminum spool with wide spool lips, a feature favoured by distance casters for the extra control it gives. This sets the Jigmaster apart as a true casting reel and not a trolling reel being cross-marketed for casting.

Next feature is the quick-release spool change. A single screw knob lets one field change the line in just 30 seconds. It's not that easy with many other baitcasters. No levelwind means your thumb works overtime while retrieving, but it also means no alignment and synchro- problems and more distance on casts.

Next, the Jigmaster has a real bait clicker - loud and strong - excellent for real bait fishing.

While the Jigmaster is a great price/performer, it doesn't get 5-stars. Out-of-the-box, it's difficult to cast with less than 4 oz weight; the 500L has bushings, which need proper lube and wear-in. In addition, the chrome plating on the steel frame bracket is prone to flaking off allowing the steel underneath to corrode and spot in saltwater. Next, the non-IAR anti-reverse is an old dawg/pawl mechanism with lots of play, and it makes a light clicking noise. Lastly, while the drag is smooth, the gears take time to wear in.

I own 2 Jigmasters. I magged both for just $2 in parts - both now reliable and castable workhorses.

3 Stars A classic!, 2005-02-16
Reviewer: Tom

This reel has some serious history. Mostly well known due to its reasonable price and serious durability. The coolest part of this reel IMO is that there are all kinds of modifications that you can make on it (drags, frames, magnetic brakes, etc.). It's like legos! ;) Unfortunately, while one says classic another may say "out of date". There are a lot of equally durable reels out now that are lighter, smoother, and cast better. However, those who are a fan of the "classic" will always keep a JigMaster handy in their arsenal for years to come.

Buy it now online at:

Penn Jigmaster 500 Fishing Reel USA made nice
Penn Jigmaster 500 Fishing Reel USA made nice
$ 19.50
Vintage PENN Jigmaster 500S Conventional Saltwater Fishing Reel Surf Boat 500 S
Vintage PENN Jigmaster 500S Conventional Saltwater Fishing Reel Surf Boat 500 S
$ 29.00
PENN JIGMASTER 500 REEL RED HANDLE
PENN JIGMASTER 500 REEL RED HANDLE
$ 12.99
PENN JIGMASTER 500 REEL GREEN HANDLE
PENN JIGMASTER 500 REEL GREEN HANDLE
$ 13.00
Earlier Model Penn Jigmaster 500 G Conventional Reel - Mfg. in USA
Earlier Model Penn Jigmaster 500 G Conventional Reel - Mfg. in USA
$ 29.95

eBay - click here to automatically search for Penn JigMaster auctions